Pastor Bill shared a moment with all of us. A moment where he was given the opportunity to help another outside of his normal reaches. A man simply trying to find a way to feed his children and society was stopping him. Bill reached into his pocket and gave the man hope, comfort, nourishment for his whole family, in a the span of a pinch. Bill is a Pastor, but he is also a human, and sometimes these moments appear and we miss the opportunity. When we look back, as I know Bill would have, he would most certainly have questioned that missed chance, but he didn’t miss it because he took the time to look, to listen, to this stranger in front of him.
Sometime later Bill had the good fortune for this stranger to cross his path again. Only this time the exchange was not as convenient of a time and location. However, the message was clear, the man remembered Bill’s hospitality and took the time to let him know the difference it made. A gift of hospitality returned that often times are not available.
I wonder, what if he was God’s messenger to Bill that day? I believe that God does provide us all with unexpected opportunities to see or not see the world revolving so quickly under our feet and before our eyes. Would you pass the test when set before you?
And in Pastor Bill’s words:
“In one of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, He accompanied two disciples as they walked from Jerusalem to their village of Emmaus. The trail was a 7 mile journey, the better part of a day’s walk for grown, healthy men. They converse the entire trip. Jesus gives them an overview of the Bible, beginning with the teachings of Moses right up to the events of their day. Still they didn’t recognize Him.
As they neared their village, Jesus acts as if He’s going to continue on His journey. We are not told how He sent this message. Maybe He pulled out His pocket calendar and mumbled something about an evening appointment in the next town. We don’t know how He left the impression that He did, but He did.
The Emmaus bound disciples had another idea. But they urged Him strongly, stay with us for this nearly evening the day is almost over Luke 24:29.
It had been a long day. The two Pilgrims had much on their minds. Certainly they have obligations and people in their lives. But their fellow travelers stirred a fire in their hearts. So they welcomed Him in. Still not knowing that their guest was Jesus, they pulled out an extra chair, poured some water in the soup and offered bread. Jesus bless the bread and when he did their eyes were opened and they recognized him Luke 24:31.
We still encounter people on the road. And sometimes we sense a peculiar warmth, and affection. We detect an urge to open our doors to them. In these moments heed the inner voice. We never know whom we may be hosting for dinner.
Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another 1st Peter 4:9-10.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, every breath is a gift from Your hand. Even so, I confess that sometimes my own hand remains tightly closed when I encounter the needs of others. Please open both my hand and my heart that I might learn to open my door to others. As You help me open my heart and my hand, O Lord, I ask that You also prompt me to open my life to those who need a taste of Your love and bounty. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”
(We are journeying forth into God’s plan for his world, not ours. His world brings church home, erases boundaries and borders.)
Bill, “Consider the genius of God’s plan. The first generation of Christians was a tinderbox of contrasting cultures and backgrounds. At least 15 different nationalities heard Peter sermon on the day of Pentecost. Jews stood next to Gentiles. Men worship with women. Slaves and masters alike sought after Christ. Can people of such varied backgrounds and cultures get along with each other?”
It’s no wonder that the elders were to be given to hospitality (A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior and hospitality) 1st Timothy 3:2. The primary gathering place of the church was the home.
We wonder the same thing today. Can Hispanics live in peace with Anglos? Can Democrats find common ground with Republicans? Can a Christian family carry on a civil friendship with a Muslim couple down the street? Can the divergent people get along?
The early church did it without the aid of sanctuaries, church buildings, clergy, or seminaries. They did so through the clearest of messages (the cross) and the simplest of tools (the home).
They did. So why can’t we now? Maybe the better question is why don’t we now?
Did you know that February is National Black Heritage month? When I heard this, was reminded by my boys, I was disappointed in our country. Blacks are not black for just one month out of the year. And what they suffered at the hands of white people, simply because of skin color, did not happen in just one month, nor did the turning of the tides. I understand the need to include this dark period in American history but why not recognize this time throughout the year as we do so many of America’s historical points (Martin Luther King has his own day in January, President’s Day in February, and Columbus Day in October, to mark a few)?
And to add my perspective on Bill’s previous question, can we live with those that are so different from us, be it by ethnicity, culture, economy, religion, or sheer beliefs. I believe we can but to do so we must open ourselves up to new ways of thinking, new forms of acceptance, and to admit we may not always be right. This, I have come to note, is becoming more difficult, especially since America suffered such a huge explosion of questions on September 11, 2001. But really, was that when America started to implode from the effects of having to open our doors to those that don’t agree with us, or was that just the day that all of our doors blew off their hinges? It brought to the surface what many thought, feared, or believed.
And how did this impact God’s ability to reach His people in our country? How does this impact your ability to reach across the aisle, the street, or even the great metaphysical divide that sits as the Great Wall of China between you and those around you?
How does this effect your ability to be hospitable?